By Zach Collier
Two years after the release of their debut album, Caverns, Porch Lights has released a brand new EP. Entitled Street Gaze, it’s a concept album about “lost love, youth, and cars in the 70’s.” The band’s aim with this album was to reach back into a nostalgic era and share the story of two couples learning how to love through the highs and the lows.
The EP has two “sides.” The first, Eleanor, is told through the eyes of Eleanor’s boyfriend, Tom. The couple loves each other, but when high school ends things fall apart. “I’ve always pictured [this] in a Spielberg-esque setting,” says Porch Lights’ Corey Crellin.
The second side, Neon Princess, revolves around a couple waist-deep in conflict. This side is darker in tone than Eleanor. “[This couple is] more conflicted due to the male character being in a somewhat dark place,” says Crellin. “The first song is meant to demonstrate the internal struggle in the main male character, compared with the angelic and pure nature of the female character. At the end of the day this love is lost, and I think that Neon Princess (the girl) is much better off as a result.”
Street Gaze draws a lot of inspiration from the movies Tron and Drive. Crellin spent a lot of time walking through San Francisco at night, thinking about thinking about the electronic elements of the Tron soundtrack by Daft Punk. He also loved the imagery of 70’s cars and how both films focused on the movement of vehicles. “I think I drew a lot from the mood and driving nature of the films, but the characters kind of formed themselves in my mind,” he says.
One day, Crellin visited a vintage guitar shop in San Francisco and walked home with a 1975 West German guitar. Inspiration struck. “For some reason, all the songs I was writing at the time were stories. I think my own experiences with loving and losing people inspired the characters, but I didn’t want to write songs about myself and I found it much easier to explore the emotions through other, fictional people. I wanted to make sure that the wonderful parts of loving another person (‘Prom’ and ‘Summer Daze’) were represented as well as the painful parts (‘One Trick Pony,’ “Neon Princess’).”
While still true to the Porch Lights sound, this album is a bit more upbeat and explores new sounds and styles, particularly in the realm of electronic instrumentation. The album was primarily written by Crellin, with Hayden Hampton co-writing “Summer Daze” and “Nothing Means Nothing,” and Emily Brown providing vocals on “Neon Princess” and “Time.” According to Crellin, Stephen Cope contributed a lot to the production, and mixed and mastered the album at Studio Studio Dada.
The album was released today with its accompanying website, StreetGaze.com. The website contains a photo gallery of pictures hand picked by Corey’s parents and their friends who were in high school in the 70’s, as well as more detail into the narrative nature of the album, and a FAQ section.
The name of the album, Street Gaze, is based on fond memories Crellin had with friends before moving to San Francisco. He explains, “Before I moved, my friends and I would sit on my bed and stare out my upper-flow window in downtown Salt Lake. We called it ‘street gazing.’ The album feels pretty nostalgic, and it seemed fitting because street gazing was a pretty nostalgic thing in my mind.”
The album is available on all major digital distribution outlets. Make sure to like Porch Lights on Facebook and learn more about the album at StreetGaze.com. Street Gaze is available to stream via Spotify below.